JACOB HAROLD GREENLEE
May 12, 1918 – March 21, 2015
Αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἁγιάσαι ὑμᾶς ὁλοτελεῖς, καὶ ὁλόκληρον ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα ἀμέμπτως ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τηρηθείη. πιστὸς ὁ καλῶν ὑμᾶς, ὃς καὶ ποιήσει.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. (1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24)
Jacob Harold Greenlee was born in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 12, 1918, the first child of Jacob Andrew and Ethel Edith Jarrett Greenlee. He graduated from Charleston High School in 1935. He holds the degrees of A.B., Asbury College, 1939; B.D., Asbury Theological Seminary, 1943; M.A., University of Kentucky, 1944; Ph.D. in Biblical and Patristic Greek, Harvard University, 1947. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow, Oxford University, 1950–51, where his work on reading an ancient palimpsest—an erased Greek NT manuscript—led to further palimpsest studies and the publication of a book.
On December 10, 1949, he married Ruth Bernice Olney. He was professor of New Testament Greek at Asbury Theological Seminary, 1944–65, and at Oral Roberts University, 1965–69. He and Ruth have been missionaries of OMS International (now One Mission Society) since 1969, teaching in Bible schools and seminaries throughout the world. Through those years he was also an international translation consultant for Wycliffe Bible Translators, participating in Bible translation workshops in many lands, and contributing to the translation of the New Testament into more than 125 languges. They also served from time to time on the first three Operation Mobilization missionary ships with their son David.
Dr. Greenlee was an ordained United Methodist minister of the West Virginia Conference. He is the author with wife, Ruth, of a book about their ministry travels, and he has published 12 books dealing with the Greek language of the New Testament and more than 160 published articles. He is listed in more than twenty-five biographical volumes.
During his years as professor of New Testament Greek at Asbury Seminary, he wrote two books. His Concise Exegetical Grammar of NT Greek (1953) was on the market for 60 years, translated into six other languages, and is now offered on the Seminary’s First Fruits internet project. His Introduction to NT Textual Criticism (1963) is still on sale after 50 years and has recently been translated into Korean.
During his 21 years at the Shell Point Retirement Community, Fort Myers, Florida, he continued contributing in New Testament Greek studies, co-teaching a Village Church Sunday school class, assisting with the Wednesday morning Men’s Bible Study, and singing in the Shell Point Singers and the Village Church choir for over fifteen years. As a part of the Shell Point Academy, he co-led the Anatomy of a Word class until a month before his death.
Family members include his wife Ruth Bernice; daughters Dotty Morrison (husband Bill Morrison, deceased), Lois Stück (husband Dr. Jim Stück; children Philip, Michael, and David and wife Ellie), and son, Dr. David Harold Greenlee (wife Vreni; children Rebekka, Jonathan, and Sarah); and sisters Rayma Gene (husband Clarence Hutchens, deceased), and Catherine Mae (deceased, husband Reid Feather).
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to One Mission Society (formerly OMS International), P.O. Box A, Greenwood, Indiana 46142-6599 designated for seminary student scholarship funds.